The news: A medical city spanning over 200 acres is being planned in Faisalabad by the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology. The medical city will include production units for medical equipment as well as electromagnetic instruments.
Medical City: According to Fawad Chaudhry, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the FIEDMC has been signed. Two production units are already being set up in the medical zone with the help of FIEDMC which is also the developing body of Allama Iqbal Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Faisalabad. With the current plan in action, the import replacement in Pakistan can increase up to $1.4 billion. All businesses undertaken in the medical city would be tax-free for 10 years and the government will also eliminate customs duties on the import of machinery for the SEZ.
Production unit: The minister explained that it would take six to eight months to import machinery and set up the equipment before manufacturing can begin. In the first operational phase of the production units, manufacturing of syringes, needles, cannulas, cartridges, wires, cables, and cardiac stents will begin. In the second phase, X-ray and dialysis machines will be manufactured in Pakistan. He said that the production of such medical equipment within Pakistan is a huge step for the country. Local manufacturing will also reduce the current cost of medical procedures by an estimated 50 percent.
From calamity to opportunity: Chaudhry claimed that in February, when the coronavirus pandemic began, Pakistan had to import most of the medical equipment such as ventilators. Today, Pakistan is capable of producing 1,150 ventilators every month. Due to the effort of the ministry of science and technology, local production of equipment has replaced considerable imports. He said that Pakistan had turned the calamity of covid-19 into an opportunity. Providing an example, he said that Pakistan had imported 1.5 billion syringes in the past year, but now there will be no scarcity of essentials, at least in government-operated hospitals.
Industrial City: Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Allama Iqbal Industrial City – the SEZ under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in January. The project aims to attract foreign and local investors and promote progressive economic activities in the country. The industrial city is spread across 3,217 acres of land and consists of various sectors, including textile, pharmaceuticals, information technology, chemicals automotive and service complex, among others.